EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Late in a season, with players banged up, attempting to figure out the game-day inactives can simply be a matter of removing the injured players.
For the Dallas Cowboys' visit Sunday to the New York Giants, start with cornerback Orlando Scandrick, defensive tackle David Irving and linebacker Justin Durant. They were officially ruled out Saturday.
Scandrick has two transverse process fractures in his back, so the fact that coach Jason Garrett kept open the possibility of the cornerback playing against New York as late as Friday was absurd. Tony Romo missed one game with a similar injury. Scandrick’s position requires much more movement than a quarterback, so in reality the Cowboys (6-6) knew he would not play at the start of the week.
Irving was added to the concussion protocol after the Week 13 victory over the Washington Redskins and did not practice during the past week. His absence will be a blow to a defense that needs all of its pieces in place to get after the quarterback. With Irving out, Datone Jones should see his first action with the Cowboys after joining the team in late November.
Durant was limited in two practices during the week because of a concussion suffered on Thanksgiving that kept him out of the Washington game. With Sean Lee returning, Durant likely would have been a healthy scratch anyway if he were healthy.
Right tackle La'el Collins (back) did not practice during the week and is listed as questionable, but as with the Washington game he should be available to play. But do the Cowboys keep Chaz Green active as an eighth offensive lineman for added protection? Brice Butler was limited with a foot injury in practice; he played just 12 snaps against Washington. He is a big-play threat and the Cowboys have struggled with big plays. He needs to be active, right? Maybe not.
We know the Cowboys won’t go with a third tailback or fourth tight end, which means Trey Williams and Blake Jarwin will be inactive again. So the final spots come down to Green, Butler, cornerback Bene Benwikere and defensive tackle Daniel Ross.
So here's the guess at the inactives: Williams, Jarwin, Green, Irving, Ross, Durant and Scandrick.